Saturday, October 01, 2016

Pope Presses Orthodox Agenda in Georgia Despite Resistance

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Pope Francis' efforts to improve relations with the Georgian Orthodox Church suffered a setback Saturday after the patriarchate decided at the last minute not to send an official delegation to his Mass and reminded the Orthodox faithful they cannot participate in Catholic services.

Francis still pressed on with his agenda, insisting that Catholics must never try to convert Orthodox and bowing in prayer alongside the Orthodox patriarch after they both lit a candle in the Orthodox cathedral.

Francis called for the historical divisions that have "lacerated" Christianity to be healed through patience, trust and dialogue.

"We are called to be one in Jesus Christ and to avoid putting disharmony and divisions between the baptized first, because what unites us is much more than what divides us," he told Patriarch Ilia, amid the Aramaic chants and hypnotic bells tolling at the cathedral in the spiritual capital of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Saturday's developments on the second and final day of Francis' visit to Georgia reflected the "one step forward, two steps back" progress that often accompanies the Vatican's outreach to the Orthodox Church, which split from the Catholic Church [cough cough A/O] over 1,000 years ago over issues including the primacy of the pope.

Read the rest here.

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